My novel, What’s Left, springs from the ending of my first published novel, where our hippie-boy’s troubled journey finally brings him to true love and an embracing community.
Part of his epiphany is brought about by his colleague and guardian angel, Nita, when she hangs two portraits of her younger sister on her wall. Even as a professional photographer, he’s riveted. You could say it was infatuation at first sight. Or something more primordial.
And then, when he visits their family, the romance blossoms.
I’ve learned much in the interim since that first work and my newest, including a realization that Diana is not a common first name among Greek-Americans. Rather, she would be the goddess Artemis. Well, the older sister is named Anita, or Nita, with its Spanish roots. So that led me to create a Cuban-born grandmother in the backstory. Later, though, I did yield and have their other grandmother, born in Greece, also have the name Diana – usually shortened to Dida in the narrative – but that was a fluke. Besides, that line wasn’t purely Greek, either.
Still, I like the qualities I sketched for her in those early pages – serious, literate, musical, independent, quietly beautiful – long before I wound up advancing her story with children. She’s about as perfect a match for Cassia’s father-to-be as I could imagine. The fact that she, like her sister, chooses not to continue her working life in the family restaurant adds to their fit and lets the story break ethnic stereotypes.
There’s only so much room on a plate – or even the whole menu. And so this remained in a pile in the kitchen:
Her facial expression is at once open, guileless even, but also reserved, modest. What he’s taken in appears sporty or playful yet, well, he’s sensed something seductive. Not that he could articulate much of that.
As the story unfolds, Diana takes her own time to warm up after their introduction. Seems healthy to me!
Well, looking back on my own life, I’d say romance definitely improved once I learned not to rush things.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever had a relationship begin with a single look or glance?
Or, from another perspective, have you ever seen a mutual friend successfully play matchmaker?